The Bionic eye retinal implants have successfully passed a three year trial which was conducted to check the safety and effectiveness of the implants.
There has been a lot of breakthroughs in the field of medical science and some of them really sound like science fiction. One of the high tech innovation is the development of “Bionic eye retinal implants”.
Earlier, medical field had witnessed the development of bionic arms and legs. Now, researchers have successfully completed a three year trial for the bionic eye retinal implants. Well, the technology has got an approval from FDA which appears it is safe and the trial results are promising.
For individuals who have been blinded by Retinitis pigmentosa, the ‘biological eye retinal implant’ or ‘Argus II’ is a real boon as it functions to improve their vision. Retinitis pigmentosa, is a rare genetic degeneration of the retina which eventually leads to a severe impairment of vision.
As per The Latest News reports, experimental trials claim that implanting Argus II device can successfully restore low levels of vision in functionally blind patients.
Patients with with optic nerve diseases, central retinal artery or vein occlusion or a history of detachment or trauma have got amazing results by using the Argus II device.
Working of the Biological eye retinal implant aka Argus II:
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System comprises of three parts:
- a tiny electronic device which is implanted in and around the eye
- a microscopic video camera which is fitted in the glasses to a pair of glasses
- a video processing unit which needs to be worn or carried by the patient
The video camera fitted into the pair of glasses collects the information and then transmits these signals to a special processing unit. This unit would then convert the signals to an electronic device that has been implanted into the retina of the patients who have lost their vision.
The device got its approval from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the year 2013, though it was already available in European countries since 2011.
As per FDA, Argus II has been designed to improve the visual function of patients and it may produce sensation of light in patients.
Researchers conducted trials on 30 subjects in 10 centers across the United States and Europe. The results revealed that 89 percent of the trial patients had reported of receiving strong images while using the device.
Final results of the clinical study showed that Argus II device helped the trial subjects to : “identify the location or movement of objects and people; recognize large letters, words, or sentences; and helped in other activities of daily life, such as detecting street curbs and walking on a sidewalk without stepping off.”
Lead scientists of the study, Dr. Allen Ho of the Wills Eye Hospital, told the website Zonopa: “I look forward to future studies with this technology, which may make possible expansion of the intended use of the device, including treatment for other diseases and eye injuries.”
Dr Ho, added that based on the trial results Argus II could be used further in the treatment of a wide range of eye complications. This device would help patients who are prone to medical allergies and those who cannot receive invasive eye surgery procedures.
Current cost of Argus II device is about $100,000.
The research paper titled “Long-Term Results from an Epiretinal Prosthesis to Restore Sight to the Blind” along with the findings have been published in the journal Ophthalmology.